A few months back my brother-in-law asked for a chicken 'n dumplings recipe, and I have been searching for one ever since. I tried a recipe that was good, but not great. I read through nearly fifty recipes that called for things like crisco and cream of mushroom soup; neither of which I typically use. After a lengthy, relatively unproductive search, I think I finally have a simple recipe worth sharing.
Throughout my search, I found that there are two very distinct camps in the dumpling category: rolled or dropped. The rolled dumpling is sliced to be more like a piece of pasta, and the dropped dumpling puffs to be more like a biscuit. The first recipe I tried called for dropped dumplings. We liked them, but it was more like a chicken pot pie than chicken 'n dumplings (and if we wanted pot pie we would make pot pie).
We decided that we are in the rolled camp. We were looking for hunks of pulled chicken and browned onions with thin strips of dough coated in a savory broth. Rolled dumplings mingle throughout the pot of broth, and the benefit to that is that you get a bite of dumpling in nearly every bite. Next time I need to roll the dough even thinner to achieve a true rolled dumpling, and I am pretty sure that eating this again soon will not be a problem.
This dough is akin to a biscuit dough, but rolled super thin and sliced. Because there is baking powder in this recipe, the dough does puff ever so slightly resulting in a pillowy bite of broth dunked dough. (If you are looking for a dumpling that is more like a noodle, you want to find a recipe that adds egg to the dumpling dough.)
After you roast the chicken, the rest of the meal is ready in about 30 minutes. Homemade dumplings and everything in about 30 minutes? Yep. I know. It is amazing. Carrots, onions, peas, thyme, roasted chicken, dumplings: honestly, a cold winter evening never tasted so good.
Chicken 'n Dumplings serves 6
1, 3 pound whole chicken
2 cups diced carrots (about 3 medium carrots, peeled)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 quart good quality chicken broth (I typically use Pacific Organic Chicken Broth)
If you can get your hands on White Lily brand flour, you will be happy you did. White Lily is a southern flour that makes incredibly light biscuits and doughs. You may use any other self-rising flour if White Lily is not available to you.
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1. Roast chicken according to this method. Once the chicken is roasted (internal temperature of the breast should be 180), and then cooled enough to touch, pull chicken into bite size hunks. Refrigerate meat until ready to use
2. Use 1 tablespoon of the chicken fat, from bottom of roasting pan, to sauté the onions and carrots. (I use the same pot for roasting and for the chicken n' dumplings. If you have a dutch oven or other oven proof large soup pot, roast the chicken first, scrape out the majority of the fat, leave a touch of the fat for the vegetables, and then use the same pot on the stove for the rest of the recipe.)
3. Sauté the onions and carrots in tablespoon of chicken fat for 5 minutes over medium heat until golden and aromatic. Add dried thyme and flour. Stir well to coat. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Slowly add broth while stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add peas. Let simmer over medium heat
4. Meanwhile make dumplings. Cut butter into flour using a pastry cutter or fork. Stir in milk. Try not to over work the dough. Mix just enough to combine. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 3-4 times to combine. Roll super thin to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 1 inch by 2 inch strips
5. Bring broth mixture to a boil. Gently drop in dumplings, stirring once to make room for all the dumplings. Quickly cover with a lid. Hear the mixture boil, and then turn down to low for 10 minutes. Do not lift lid
6. After 10 minutes, gently fold in about 2 cups of chicken pieces and simmer until chicken is warm
7. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve by the bowlful. Enjoy